The effects of temperature and sowing date on the time to first flowering were investigated in Petunia ×hybrida Vilm `Express Blush Pink' sown on three separate dates (8 Feb., 1 Mar. and 22 Mar. 1993) and grown in glasshouse compartments set to provide six air temperature regimes (minimum temperatures of 4, 10, 14, 18, 22, and 26 °C). Flowering was hastened under high temperatures and sowing later in the season (22 Mar.). To determine the extent to which this seasonal effect was due to photoperiod, a second experiment was conducted where plants were grown under controlled daylengths (8, 11, 14, and 17 h·d-1) within six temperature-controlled glasshouse compartments (set to provide minimum temperatures of 6, 10, 14, 18, 22, and 26 °C). The rate of progress to first flowering increased linearly with lengthening photoperiod up to a critical photoperiod of 14.4 h·d-1, while further increases in daylength had no further affect in hastening flowering. The rate of progress to flowering increased linearly with increasing temperature, however, the optimum temperature, at which the rate of progress to flowering was maximal, was lower under short days compared to long days. Furthermore, the rate of progress to flowering increased linearly with increasing photosynthetic photon flux (PPF). Data from both experiments were analyzed to construct a model to predict the effects of temperature, photoperiod, and PPF on time of flowering in petunia. This model accurately (r2 = 0.88) predicted the flowering times of a different set of plants sown on three dates and grown under six temperature regimes (6, 10, 14, 18, 22, and 26 °C).
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